Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Evolution of Greek Cuisine

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” – Virginia Woolf
Don’t we know it! Greece has always been world famous for its fabulous cuisine. Being at the crossroads between east and west, Greek cuisine has been infused with the best of both worlds. Preparing and enjoying Greek fare, anywhere in the world, is an adventurous journey into the cradle of civilization and the land of the Gods of Olympus.

Initially, Greek dishes began to take on influences of other cultures as far back as 350 BC when Alexander the Great extended the Greek Empire through Europe to India. In 146 BC, Greece fell to the Romans, resulting in a fusion of Roman and Greek influences. Centuries later Greece fell to the Turks in 1453 and was part of the Ottoman Empire for nearly 400 years. It’s not surprising then that some classic Greek dishes still have Turkish names.

With each successive invasion and settlement came more culinary influence, including Venetian, Balkan, Slav and English, resulting in a cross pollination of culinary influences and adaptations.

Many ingredients used in modern Greek cooking were unknown in Greece until the middle ages. Ingredients like the potato, tomato, spinach, bananas, among others, came to Greece after the discovery of the Americas – their origin.

But always, the main ingredient you will find in just about every Greek dish is olive oil. Olive oil is the energy food that fueled a splendid civilization in ancient times, and the one item that even today, every Greek restaurant or home cannot be without.

Though cultural overlapping may be obvious to chefs working in Mediterranean cuisine, these influences have occurred over thousands of years, making what we now consider to be Greek pretty straight forward. In fact, while Greek cooking has influenced and been influenced by other cultures, of all of those cultures, Greece ranks highest when it comes to the concept of "fusion" cuisine.

Fun Facts:

-The first cookbook was written by the Greek food gourmet, Archestratos, in 330 B.C.!  Obviously cooking has always been of utmost importance in Greek society.
-Modern chefs owe the tradition of their tall, white chef's hat to the Greeks. In the middle ages, monastic brothers who prepared food in Greek Orthodox monasteries wore tall white hats to distinguish them in their work from the regular monks, who wore large black hats.
Greek food is simple and elegant, with flavors subtle to robust, textures smooth to crunchy, fresh and timeless, nutritious and healthy. Discovering, tasting, and experiencing Greek cuisine is truly one of the joys we can all share. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Cupid Calling: Valentine's Dinner Experience

This Valentine's Day - take the one you love and enjoy a dinner of Mediterranean Cuisine fit for the gods.  All Ziziki's locations* will be offering a special for-course menu exclusively designed to provide an extra-special culinary experience. For only $49 per person - you will receive:
  • Appetizer
  • Your choice: Salad
  • Your choice: Entree
  • Dessert

Reservations are recommended. Call us now to reserve your seating.

Featured wine is from Hahn Winery**.
GSM & Chardonnay - $8/glass and $30/bottle

*we invite you to try our newest restaurant The Greek One Arts - they will not be offering this menu on Valentine's Day. 
**featured wine will be available at our Travis Walk and Preston/Forest locations.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Ziziki's AND The Greek features new line of Liquors - The 86 Co.

We are proud to carry all of these at all Ziziki's Restaurants as well as The Greek at One Arts Plaza. Sip on some of our amazing signature cocktails (designed exclusively for Ziziki's and The Greek by Jason Kosmas). These are a new line of distintive spirits - tequila, vodka, gin and rum.

Learn more about these new spirits with this special feature story and The 86 Co. Website.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Perfect Potatoes - Roasted Greek Style

Everyone loves potatoes. And of course, the Greeks know how to make them perfect - every time. This fool-proof recipe is a tried and true tradition of tastiness.   Some handy tips on these potatoes - when cooking, don't worry about overcooking - some extra minutes will just add extra flavor and yumminess. And, you should not skimp on the garlic.

What you'll need:

8 large potatoes, peeled, sliced into large wedges
4 garlic cloves, minced (more is OK! OPA!)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon dried oregano (get the Mediterranean, it's the best!)
1 lemon, juiced 
1/2 cup olive oil
sea salt to taste
fresh coarse ground black pepper to taste

Fire up the oven to 420°F and prepare your baking pan. Pick a large pan, and spray it with a little no-stick spray.  Place all the ingredients into the pan and season with sea salt and black pepper. 
Either with your hands, or some salad tongs - toss everything around to mix it up.  The garlic will form droplets in the water & oil, but those are like little flavor bombs - let them land where they will! This will keep moist flavor without burning. 

Bake at 420°F for 40 minutes.

By this time, a golden-brown crust will appear on the potatoes. This is when you should flip them and season again on the other side. Dash a little oregano at this time too.

If the pan appears to be getting dry, it is OK to add up to 1/2 cup more water and put back into the oven.
Bake other side 40 more minutes.